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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 16

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 06/27/22, 4:00PM EDT


Sacramento’s quality, depth carrying it forward on two fronts

Welcome back to the USL Championship Power Rankings, where all the pieces are falling into place for California’s last remaining representative in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, Sacramento Republic FC.

Now, as a rule, we don’t use Open Cup performances in our evaluation of the Power Rankings. At the same time, the traits that have come to the fore in Sacramento’s four-game league winning streak – sending it to the top of this week’s rankings – were on full display against the LA Galaxy last Tuesday night.

At the forefront? The defensive solidity that has Sacramento tied for the fewest goals conceded in the league this season. Sacramento has yet to concede a goal in the league in the opening 15 minutes of either the first or second half this season. Against the Galaxy that held true, and the MLS side was limited to only 0.62xG for the game.

There was also Sacramento’s knack for timely goals. Its fourth-minute opener by Rodrigo Lopez provided a key initial platform to build on, providing leeway for the visitors, but it’s been late in games where Republic FC has delivered most with 11 of its 19 league goals coming in the final half-hour of games. That includes Maalique Foster’s brace on Saturday night, which turned around the club’s rivalry clash with Monterey Bay F.C. at Cardinale Stadium and continued the club’s winning run.

As all the new pieces have come together after the club’s offseason overhaul, there’s also a spirit being fomented that bodes well for where this is going, both in the league and potentially in next months’ Open Cup Semifinal at home to Sporting Kansas City.

“We just fight for each other,” said Foster on Saturday night. “That's what’s happening. We believe in each other, and we fight for each other.”

Now, here’s how the rest of the picture looks across the league.

Atlanta United 2 Birmingham Legion FC Charleston Battery Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC Detroit City FC El Paso Locomotive FC Hartford Athletic Indy Eleven
LA Galaxy II Las Vegas Lights FC Loudoun United FC Louisville City FC Memphis 901 FC The Miami FC Monterey Bay F.C. New Mexico United
New York Red Bulls II Oakland Roots SC Orange County SC Phoenix Rising FC Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Rio Grande Valley FC Sacramento Republic FC San Antonio FC
San Diego Loyal SC Tampa Bay Rowdies FC Tulsa

Biggest Movers






1 Sacramento Republic FC
Week 17: @ COS
Last Week:
Excluding the regionalized and shortened 2020 season, this is Republic FC’s first four-game winning streak in the league since late 2018, when they took second place in the West.
2 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Week 17: v. MEM
Last Week:
Leo Fernandes is on an absolute tear with five goals in the past four games to move into a tie for the team-lead with Jake LaCava, and his second goal against Pittsburgh was superb.
3 San Antonio FC
Week 17: v. TUL, v. CHS
Last Week:
San Antonio delivered a playoff-esque road performance to move into top spot against Colorado Springs on Friday night. The style doesn’t matter when you’re getting all three points.
4 Birmingham Legion FC
Week 17:@ LOU
Last Week:
Legion FC has reeled off four consecutive victories and has three consecutive shutouts to go with it. Donuts all around, Matt VanOekel!
5 Louisville City FC
Week 17: v. BHM
Last Week:
Consecutive wins for the first time since early May has LouCity back on course as it gets ready to host Birmingham in one of two massive Eastern Conference clashes this weekend.
6 Memphis 901 FC
Week 17: @ TBR
Last Week:
Earning victory against Detroit City FC on Saturday night was major. Doing so in the manner 901 FC did was remarkably impressive by the East’s leaders.
7 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Week 17: @ HFD, v. SAC
Last Week:
The Switchbacks couldn’t find an answer for San Antonio’s defense on Friday night and now they’ve got a challenging week with a trip to Hartford and clash with Sacramento to contend with.
8 El Paso Locomotive FC
Week 17: @ RGV, @ ATL

Last Week:
Locomotive FC was just too clinical for the Red Bulls II. There’s a decent chance they’ll do that to another, better team soon as well.
9 New Mexico United
Week 17: @ MB
Last Week:
Of all the numbers in Saturday’s home loss to Birmingham Legion FC, the lack of a shot by Neco Brett stood out most. There’s a chance to put in another upward push in the next few games though.
10 Las Vegas Lights FC
Week 17: v. DET
Last Week:
Las Vegas has won three league games in a row for the first time in its history. That it did so with its second win this season against Phoenix Rising FC says a lot about how this season’s going for both.
11 San Diego Loyal SC
Week 17: v. OC
Last Week:
SD Loyal’s 23 shots in its 5-0 victory against Indy Eleven was its second-highest total in a league game in club history. When that group is clicking, it can really move.
12 Oakland Roots SC
Week 17: @ LA

Last Week:
Oakland rattled off a Championship season-high 29 shots to get the job done against Atlanta United 2. Now it needs to avoid falling into the trap that has befallen other teams playing Los Dos.
13 Detroit City FC
Week 17: @ LV
Last Week:
Le Rouge are still right there in the playoff picture, but four games without a win has seen the team lose a little bit of steam. Saturday’s game at Las Vegas looks intriguing as a result.
14 LA Galaxy II
Week 17: v. OAK
Last Week:
The Galaxy II have alternated wins and draws in their last five games after Saturday’s win in Miami. It’s got them right there in the playoff race, but still the wrong side of the line for now.
15 Rio Grande Valley FC
Week 17: v. ELP

Last Week:
The Toros got the week off after Wednesday’s postponement at New Mexico United. Now they’ll get a doubleheader at Isotopes Park next week on July 6th and 9th.
16 The Miami FC
Week 17: v. IND
Last Week:
After Saturday’s loss to the Galaxy II, Miami gets to visit the two teams directly above it in the Eastern standings over the next two weekends. At least they’re not in great form, either.
17 FC Tulsa
Week 17: @ SA, @ LDN
Last Week:
Getting back into the win column will be a massive relief for Tulsa, but now they’ve got to fix their road form. 0-7-1 away from ONEOK Field going to San Antonio on Tuesday night is a tough spot.
18 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Week 17: @ NY
Last Week:
This is the first time since Head Coach Bob Lilley arrived in Pittsburgh the Hounds have lost three consecutive league outings. It accounts for 11 percent of their total defeats in that span.
19 Orange County SC
Week 17: @ SD, @ PHX
Last Week:
As long as Orange County has Milan Iloski and Erick Torres knocking goals in, it feels like they’re going to have a chance to salvage this season. This week’s games at San Diego and Phoenix are going to test that idea.
20 Loudoun United FC
Week 17: v. TUL
Last Week:
Loudoun found itself on the wrong side of the fine margins in Orange County. Who knows where the game goes if Sami Guediri’s penalty kick finds the net?
21 Indy Eleven
Week 17: v. MIA
Last Week:
Saturday marked only the second time Indy has conceded five goals in a game in the Championship since joining in 2018. That’s a tough one to absorb, but they’ve got to rebound with Miami coming in.
22 Charleston Battery
Week 17: v. ATL, @ SA
Last Week:
The Battery took a step back with their defeat in Tulsa, and now a win against Atlanta is essential ahead of a difficult run of games to start July.
23 Phoenix Rising FC
Week 17: v. OC
Last Week:
Phoenix hadn’t lost four games in a row since the 2016 season, before it became Rising FC. As it reaches the midway point of the seasons, the playoffs seem a long way away.
24 Monterey Bay F.C.
Week 17: v. NM

Last Week:
Monterey Bay has shown it can be competitive in every game it plays recently. Got to turn it into points, though.
25 Hartford Athletic
Week 17: v. COS
Last Week:
Best wishes to Harry Watling and his family as he departs Hartford to return home. Hopefully we’ll see him back on the sidelines again soon.
26 Atlanta United 2
Week 17: @ CHS, v. ELP
Last Week:
That was some finish by Tristan Trager for his first goal in the professional ranks, but Roots SC’s barrage was always going to end up leaving Atlanta on the wrong side of the result.
27 New York Red Bulls II
Week 17: v. PIT
Last Week:
Four goals against in 36 minutes, and that was that in El Paso. The Red Bulls II have backslid again after a couple of performances that lent a glimmer of hope.

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